Arahants

Theravāda in the 21st century - modern applications of ancient wisdom

Re: Arahants

Postby lawphotog » Thu Nov 24, 2011 4:52 pm

As far as i know, it is a serious sin to say someone who is not Arahant is Arahant and vasi vasa.
Is there any record of anyone who mahaparinirvana as Arahants in recent year?
Few years back, i have heard the news of a Mahayana monk in china who died as Arahant.
And I know few in my own country but i still want to find out more about other practices that lead to become Arahant.
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Re: Arahants

Postby chownah » Fri Nov 25, 2011 1:38 am

I don't think of it as a sin....I think of it as ignorance....thinking that someone is an arahant or not is just a view.....if you cling to the idea that someone is an arahant or not then you are just clinging to your own views....there is no way to know if someone is an arahant or not....and indeed it is only when one loses the status of "someone" that arahatahood arises I guess.....not sure though.....
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Re: Arahants

Postby AyyaSobhana » Tue Dec 13, 2011 12:42 am

A few months ago, Bhante Gunaratana advised us (bhikkhunis) to openly disclose our attainments to our colleagues in monastic life, whether meditation attainments or noble attainments. This was in connection with the last reflection of the Dasadhamma Sutta: "“Have I gained superhuman knowledge which can be specially known to noble ones, so that later when I am questioned by fellow bhikkhus I will not be embarrassed?” If Ven. Phalanyani hears about reputed arahants, she can go and question them about it.

There's no need for our practice to be veiled in mumbo-jumbo.
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Re: Arahants

Postby retrofuturist » Tue Dec 13, 2011 1:35 am

Greetings,

AyyaSobhana wrote:There's no need for our practice to be veiled in mumbo-jumbo.

Well said, ayya!

Metta,
Retro. :)
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Whatever various forms of unease there are in the world, They originate founded in encumbering accumulation. (Pārāyanavagga)


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One who is such, calmed and ever mindful, He has no sorrows! -- Udana IV, 7


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Re: Arahants

Postby Aloka » Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:00 am

As a lay practitioner, I have little interest in who claims/is said to be an arahant.

Other peoples claims or attainments don't help me to be free from dukkha- but my own practice hopefully will.
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Re: Arahants

Postby reflection » Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:10 pm

According to Ajahn Brahms, only the Buddha can know someone else's attainments for sure. I also think it is very common for people to mistake their own attainments. For these two reasons, I think any claim -be it directly or indirectly- of any attainments should be taken with a grain of salt, always.

Besides, I personally don't think it is very important anyway. One should find a teacher that inspires and reflects the teachings of the Buddha and not worry about any attainments he or she may or may not have. Why? As an unattained person you can't even be sure if such states actually exist and therefore aren't in a good position to judge the attainments of others. And ones with attainments are self-reliant according to the suttas, so they don't need an attained teacher per se. :P In both cases, it's best to worry about your own progress, as Aloka also states.
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Re: Arahants

Postby reflection » Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:17 pm

AyyaSobhana wrote:A few months ago, Bhante Gunaratana advised us (bhikkhunis) to openly disclose our attainments to our colleagues in monastic life, whether meditation attainments or noble attainments. This was in connection with the last reflection of the Dasadhamma Sutta: "“Have I gained superhuman knowledge which can be specially known to noble ones, so that later when I am questioned by fellow bhikkhus I will not be embarrassed?” If Ven. Phalanyani hears about reputed arahants, she can go and question them about it.

There's no need for our practice to be veiled in mumbo-jumbo.

“Have I gained super-human knowledge which can be specially known
to noble ones, so that later when I am questioned by fellow bhikkhus I
will not be embarrassed?” should be reflected upon always by one who
has gone forth.

I understand the other reflections in the sutta, but I don't understand this part, can you (or someone else) explain? What exactly should the monk/nun reflect on?
"So that later.. I will not be embarrassed".. why should they be embarrasment?

Also, I don't see how this promotes openly disclosure.
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Re: Arahants

Postby manas » Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:24 pm

Respectfully, I wonder if it is ok to ask that we don't use terms such as 'attainment' when talking about the paths and fruits. Unless the Buddha talked about it in this way, but I do not recall it. I find that the word 'attain' has connotations of acquisition in it, whereas I thought that we are about letting go of things here. I guess it's a personal preference on my part, so feel free to ignore this request! But does anyone else think that the term 'attainment' is misleading?

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Re: Arahants

Postby reflection » Tue Dec 13, 2011 8:35 pm

manasikara wrote:Respectfully, I wonder if it is ok to ask that we don't use terms such as 'attainment' when talking about the paths and fruits. Unless the Buddha talked about it in this way, but I do not recall it. I find that the word 'attain' has connotations of acquisition in it, whereas I thought that we are about letting go of things here. I guess it's a personal preference on my part, so feel free to ignore this request! But does anyone else think that the term 'attainment' is misleading?

with metta

I can agree. I remember reading something by Ajahn Sumedho very similar to what you said. However, we are sort of stuck with this term in lack of a better description. Fruits or fruitions has exactly the same tone to it. If you know a better term, please share.
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Re: Arahants

Postby AyyaSobhana » Fri Dec 16, 2011 2:59 am

“Have I gained super-human knowledge which can be specially known
to noble ones, so that later when I am questioned by fellow bhikkhus I
will not be embarrassed?” should be reflected upon always by one who
has gone forth.

I understand the other reflections in the sutta, but I don't understand this part, can you (or someone else) explain? What exactly should the monk/nun reflect on?
"So that later.. I will not be embarrassed".. why should they be embarrasment?


Respectfully, I wonder if it is ok to ask that we don't use terms such as 'attainment' when talking about the paths and fruits. Unless the Buddha talked about it in this way, but I do not recall it.


My computer dictionary translates Attain as “succeed in achieving (something that one desires and has worked for), or “reach (a specified age, size or amount). I like the derivation from Latin attingere, from ad- (at, to) + tangere (to touch).

The most relevant pali word seems to be samaapanna (pp of samaapajjati) which is translated either as “attainment” or “entering on” a state … particularly entering any one of the four jhaanas, or the four formless attainments, or cessation of perception and feeling; or entering the path to Arahantship, and so on.

The passage in Dasadhamma sutta is about this kind of states. When a bhikkhu was approaching death, his colleagues would inquire what states he has **attained** **entered** or **reached** "Manku" is the Pali word translated as “embarrassed.” It also means “confused,” “stupified” or “stunned.” One wants to have enough clarity in practice to know what meditative states and what kind of insight one has reached.

I hope this is friendly and helpful :anjali:
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Re: Arahants

Postby fig tree » Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:24 am

reflection wrote:I understand the other reflections in the sutta, but I don't understand this part, can you (or someone else) explain? What exactly should the monk/nun reflect on?
"So that later.. I will not be embarrassed".. why should they be embarrasment?

Also, I don't see how this promotes openly disclosure.


Piyadassi Thera translates it like this:
"'Have I gained superhuman faculties? Have I gained that higher wisdom so that when I am questioned (on this point) by fellow-monks at the last moment (when death is approaching) I will have no occasion to be depressed and downcast?' This must be reflected upon again and again by one who has gone forth.


It sounds like the idea is that as a monk one should aspire to these things so that on your deathbed you won't have to admit you never quite got around to it.

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Re: Arahants

Postby reflection » Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:30 pm

fig tree wrote:
reflection wrote:I understand the other reflections in the sutta, but I don't understand this part, can you (or someone else) explain? What exactly should the monk/nun reflect on?
"So that later.. I will not be embarrassed".. why should they be embarrasment?

Also, I don't see how this promotes openly disclosure.


Piyadassi Thera translates it like this:
"'Have I gained superhuman faculties? Have I gained that higher wisdom so that when I am questioned (on this point) by fellow-monks at the last moment (when death is approaching) I will have no occasion to be depressed and downcast?' This must be reflected upon again and again by one who has gone forth.


It sounds like the idea is that as a monk one should aspire to these things so that on your deathbed you won't have to admit you never quite got around to it.

Fig Tree

Thank you, this is very understandable. But then I don't quite see how this promotes to announce ones attainments, but ok.
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Re: Arahants

Postby reflection » Fri Dec 16, 2011 7:32 pm

reflection wrote:
manasikara wrote:Respectfully, I wonder if it is ok to ask that we don't use terms such as 'attainment' when talking about the paths and fruits. Unless the Buddha talked about it in this way, but I do not recall it. I find that the word 'attain' has connotations of acquisition in it, whereas I thought that we are about letting go of things here. I guess it's a personal preference on my part, so feel free to ignore this request! But does anyone else think that the term 'attainment' is misleading?

with metta

I can agree. I remember reading something by Ajahn Sumedho very similar to what you said. However, we are sort of stuck with this term in lack of a better description. Fruits or fruitions has exactly the same tone to it. If you know a better term, please share.

After rethinking I think fruits is a better description.
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Re: Arahants

Postby vishuroshan » Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:50 am

there are living arahats in this world. but recognizing an arahat is one of the most difficult things. if you have the luck & if u have the wisdom you can. i read a book called " LIVING BUDDHIST MASTERS" . in that book, ajahn chah tells that he got upset by seeing his master. he says "some people thought my master(Ajahn taung rat) is mad, he used to do strange things. he asked his students to eat slowly & mindfully, but he eats so fast & carelessly. finally i knw that he was conscious on mind & body until the last moment". sometimes you might not know even thers an arahat standing next to you. every arahat is not staying in jungles. most of the arahats are not bothered to teach what they realized. this is how they are. there's n arahat in sri lanka.
VEN. Vajira Buddhi Thero.

if you want i can send his dhamma discussion to you'all.
my e-mail - vishuroshan@hotmail.com
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Re: Arahants

Postby vishuroshan » Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:52 am

you have to see the DHAMMA in the person. if you judge people from outside, u'll never be able to recognize an arahat.
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Re: Arahants

Postby M.G.A. » Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:45 pm

Dear friends,

May I ask who this Ven Sumathipala may be? Never heard of him before. Are there perhaps any Dhammatalks or -books available online? The same poster also mentions a few Venerable nuns that I am not familiar with. Who are they? Are there any resources from them available online?

My best regards!
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Re: Arahants

Postby M.G.A. » Fri Jan 13, 2012 4:48 pm

And also, who is Ven. Vajira Buddhi Thero. If I may ask...?

:-)
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Re: Arahants

Postby Aleksandra » Tue Apr 03, 2012 11:35 pm

To M.G.A
Ven. Sumathipala was a Sri Lankan monk who established the meditation centre in Delgoda (nr. Kanduboda), not far from Colombo. Apparently, prior to this arrival to the village of Delgoda was a village where not too many would like to stop and was well known for dangerous and mean people engaging in all sorts of criminal activities. Starting from a small hut built on a coconut plantation, his meditation centre is now one of the best known and renowned meditation centers in Sri Lanka and many yogis from all over the world come to stay there too.
As the traditional Vipassana style meditation was lost and non-existing in Sri Lanka for quite a while, Ven. Sumathipala Nahimi, with the help of Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw and other now famous monks from Burma who had spent some time in his meditation centre, had instigated the re-introduced the style of meditation as initially taught by Ven. Mahasi Sayadaw.
Ven. Pemasiri Thera, Ven. Sumathipala's student from childhood had established another meditation centre next door to the original Kanduboda Meditation Centre and had named it after his teacher.
He often mentions Ven. Sumathipala with much respect and affection in his Dhamma talks.
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Re: Arahants

Postby YouthThunder » Wed Apr 04, 2012 10:26 am

Aleksandra wrote:Dear Bhikkhuni, I can understand why you may want to find an Arahat, but I don't think you will.
Not because I think there aren't any, but because I believe that an Arahat is not likely to declare that they are an Arahat. Not all the Arahats will teach either, the same as all the Buddhas didn't teach. Some Arahats don't want any contact with the world. Most of us can only ponder if someone is an Arahat or not.
My meditation teacher says that he would never tell one of his students that they have achieved the stage of Sotapanna as this would be the end of their practice. I think the similar thing would happen if a student is told that their teacher is an Arahat. He also says: "What use is for us knowing if someone is an Arahat?" meaning that only an Arahat benefits from being the Arahat, but we don't. We are wherever we are with our own development.
Some of the highly skilled teachers will not even teach a particular Dhamma subject if they think the student is not ready to understand it.
However, I think that you should continue to search for a good teacher. There will be more of those who are skilled Dhamma teachers (skilled in teaching the Suttas, giving good Dhamma talks...) and not so many who are also highly skilled meditation teachers, as teaching meditation is much more difficult and requires huge amount of different kind of knowledge and experience. I also believe that the relationship between the teacher and the student is very special and hard to describe. If you have had good and loving relationship with your parents, and if they were the most important people as you were growing up, when you find the right teacher, you may start to feel as if you have found a new set of parents.
May you find the best possible teacher.

Why they do not want to teach? Since they are arahants and Buddhas,stress should not be a problem,plus they have nothing to lose either afaik.

Cheers~
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Re: Arahants

Postby Aleksandra » Fri Jul 06, 2012 10:35 am

Youth Thunder, sorry about late reply, I don't visit this forum often.
Why all Buddhas and arahants don't teach? I think because some of them can't, Pacceka Buddhas (silent Buddhas) for example. I think this is where 'silent' comes from. Initially the Lord Buddha, the one we are learning from now, also didn't want to teach because he saw that not many will fully understand this Dhamma, so this may be one of the reasons too.

Arahants - my Ven. teacher says that not all arahants are the same. Although having an arahant state of mind, they still have their human characteristics and traits - for example, some may be outgoing, some quiet, some may have very lively sense of humour, some may be very serious at all times, some may chose to live within a community, some prefer solitary life... also, some may have the inclination to teach, and some don't, similar as non-enlightened beings. Again, if we look in the scriptures, there were many arahats living in the time of the Lord Buddha, but not all of them were teaching. There are many different factors which will determine if someone will teach or not.

On the other hand, we could find someone who is capable of teaching quite well, but has not reached any attainments and doesn't even practice what he/she is teaching, like Tuccho Pothila - Venerable "Empty Scripture" (empty book).
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